16 Kids Given Chance To Explore Remote Parts Of Colorado

ByShawn Chitnis
Students look out over the mountains

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DENVER (CBS4) – More than a dozen high school students received scholarships to become the first from their charter school to attend summer wilderness leadership programs in some of the country’s most scenic settings.

“To my friends and myself I seemed very shy, so with that, it would help me break that barrier,” said Andrew Robledo, a freshman at the KIPP Denver Collegiate High School.

The KIPP charter schools across the country include multiple campuses in Colorado. They have a focus on preparing students for college. The Denver campus is made up of a diverse group of students that may not otherwise get the opportunity to participate in these summer courses.

The Colorado Outward Bound School gives students 12 years old and older the chance to spend anywhere from two weeks to more than a month on an outdoor adventure. These courses can cost between $3,000 to $7,000 each. Scholarships are sending 16 students from this KIPP School on various courses over the summer.

“These students are college bound and they have huge dreams and we just want to help them achieve those dreams,” said Darcy Lattof, director of development for the Colorado Outward Bound School.

Students at the charter school say they’ve enjoyed the chance to take advanced courses in high school and believe the opportunity to spend time in a new environment away from the city and technology will help them grow into young adults.

“I feel like it has been my best year in high school yet,” said Leslie Santana, a junior at the high school. “They offer the same opportunities to every kid.”

The courses include backpacking, mountaineering, and rock climbing. Some students will also go kayaking or hiking in some of the most scenic spots around the West, including some locations in Colorado. Students received more details about their trip on Wednesday while in school including how to plan for their course.

Some also received special boots and socks for their trips that were donated along with the scholarships. This group of students will either stay in state or travel to Colorado for their courses.

“I’m very excited for it because I experience new things, meet new people, and break barriers that stop me from being me,” said Robledo.

While on their course, students will have limited access to technology. Phones are not allowed on the trip. Even access to a bathroom or shower may be limited for several days while they are out on their adventure. Staff say it is in this setting that students learn more about themselves and have to work as team.  They will be paired with students similar in age to them but from across the country or even around the world.

“I think there is a sense of vulnerability that happens on our courses and it’s a really authentic place for communication,” said Lattof.

These students are grateful for the opportunity and know that it is a chance to experience a summer course many could not do on their own.

“Not everyone could afford that kind of trip,” said Santana. “That’s a really powerful thing to do.”

Lattof says students in the past have found the focus they need for college after completing the Outward Bound School.

“He credits his course for opening his eyes to those opportunities and knowing that he could achieve that,” said Lattof.

Over at the KIPP School, students are already preparing for their adventures to have a similar impact on them.

“It will help me not only physically but also mentally gain strengths that I never thought I had,” said Robledo.